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Flash Movie Review: Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

There are some people who are just as fierce or even fiercer in protecting their non-human babies as they are with their human ones. Whether the person is a creative or scientific genius, they treat their creation with the utmost concern and love. Now I am no genius but I can understand the feelings of being protective towards something one has created. There was a time where I would record mixes of songs to use in my fitness classes. It would take hours, sometimes days, for me to make a continuous recording of songs. With one turntable, one CD player and a tape deck I would count out the beats to every song I was going to use then try to blend them together. It was a fulfilling experience for me because the members in my classes absolutely loved my song choices. There were times they or fellow aerobic instructors would ask if they could get a copy of my music but I always declined them. At the time I felt with all the work I put into it, besides the expense of buying each song, I did not want to share or sell my work to anyone else. My music represented a part of me if that makes any sense. There was another reason why I did not copy my music. To record the original artist’s music, I paid dues to the copyright agencies that protected the artists’ work. I felt it was important they got paid for their efforts; so by me making copies and giving  them out would defeat my purpose. I was always gracious in my refusals; part of the reason was I did not want anyone to think unkindly of me, unlike the main focus of this documentary.    WHEN Steve Jobs the father of Apple computer died, the outpouring of grief and love expressed around the world was astounding to see. Even to those individuals who had experienced his wrath. Directed by Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks), this film covered a majority of events that have been told before. However, what I liked about this documentary was the variety of personal interviews from people who were there at the time of several major events in the life of Steve and Apple. I was thrilled to hear the stories behind the birth of such iconic items in our society such as the Ipod and Iphone. This should not come as a surprise but Steve appeared to have a split personality; one side was cerebral and contemplative and the other was a raging storm of spiteful anger. For me an Apple consumer, I was a bit uncomfortable hearing and seeing such poor behavior coming out of someone who was integral in making parts of my life easier. Geniuses come in many forms but it is always hard to hear someone we admire is not a nice person.

 

3 stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Armstrong Lie

I first heard this quote back in my high school world history class. The sandal clad professor was leading a discussion about rulers in power such as dictators and despots. To drive home the point he was trying to make, the teacher quoted Briton, Sir John Dalberg-Acton who said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” That quote really struck and stayed with me as the class dug deeper into the course. As I finished my schooling and entered into the workforce, I continued to see examples where people in power had some form of corruption. It would be either morally or financially, but each time I would hear that history teacher reciting the quote and be amazed how perceptive Lord Acton was back then. Those quoted words truly apply to this documentary film about cyclist Lance Armstrong. Director Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, The Last Gladiators) followed Lance for 4 years, looking to create a film about Lance’s return to cycling and trying to capture his 8th Tour de France competition. In fact, the working title of this movie was “The Road Back.” But after Lance admitted to doping, Alex had a much different story to document. As for the mechanics of this film I thought the director kept a tight rein on telling the story, mixing his footage with news clips and interviews. I found the pacing consistent and at times was surprised by scenes that were captured by the director. On the downside, I felt parts of the movie were a rehash of events that were already reported in the news. Due to this I did find myself getting  bored sometimes. I guess this would lead to an important question one needs to ask themselves before seeing this movie: Do you really care about Lance Armstrong? His life was certainly compelling; a cancer survivor who won the Tour de France made a great story. Add in the work of The Livestrong Foundation, where by the way one club I teach cycling at has their bikes, I could see where a documentary of Lance would sell. However, with the true story now out I really do not have any sympathy for the man. Those words first spoken in the 1800’s about power ring just as true today as they did centuries ago.

 

2 3/4 stars

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